University of Calgary selects Drupal as "official" content management system

I hinted at this in a previous post, but it wasn't "official" yet so I didn't provide any details. It's now official. The University of Calgary just finished the official CMS selection process, including input from ~140 web folks on campus and 6 presentations on 6 different CMS options. I was asked to present on Drupal, drawing on what we've done on some projects, and how it might fit into a larger community and workflow on campus.

The technical committee recommended Drupal last week (followed by Joomla - the only 2 solutions recommended were open source!), and the CMS group (including our IT department) approved that recommendation this week. The Teaching & Learning Centre abstained from voting to avoid any appearance of pushing one solution over the others.

So, over the next few weeks, our IT department will be getting up to speed on hosting Drupal. I'll be working with them to transfer information about our experiences in the Teaching & Learning Centre, and they'll merge that with their enterprise plan.

The short term goal is to provide an easy and effective way for faculties and departments to manage their websites without needing geeks in-house. If they can view a web page and use MS Word, they have the skills to maintain a website with Drupal.

Since this is now an officially supported CMS on campus, our IT department will be setting up servers, providing tech support, and keeping the gears meshed. The TLC will likely be providing project-specific support, and perhaps more general pedagogical guidance (what to do with it, what not to do with it, how to use it to enhance blended learning, etc...)

The longer term goal is to take advantage of some of the more social/community-oriented features, and open it up to individuals on campus. No timeline on that part of the plan at the moment, though, but that has me more excited than migrating the quasi-static websites into a CMS.

There are even longer term (and much grander) plans being discussed, but I won't mention details except to say that this could be a very big thing, both on campus, and for Drupal.

We've also begun investigating how Drupal may play a part in the U of C's podcasting (and larger digital media sharing) strategies. Ideally, we'd have a combination of iTunesU, Blackboard and Drupal, each playing to their respective strengths.

I've ranted about the IT department before, but I have to give them full props now. They went the extra mile to support an open source solution, when commercial packages might have caused them less grief (but also provided less flexibility and control). Sometimes the good guys do come out ahead...

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